The Mornin' Mail is published every weekday except major holidays
Friday, October 30, 2009 Volume XVIII, Number 94

did ya know?

Did Ya Know?... The VFW Men’s Auxiliary will hold a turkey shoot on Sunday, Nov. 1 from 1 p.m until 5 p.m. at the Post at the intersection of 96 & 171 highways. Public Invited, male and female.

Did Ya Know?....Saturday Jam at Red OakII every Sat. from 5 p.m. till 9. All acoustic instruments welcome.

Did Ya Know?... There will be a Halloween costume party and dance at the V.F.W. Sat. Oct 31 from 8-12. Prizes for costumes. Donation $4 single, $7 couple.

today's laugh

A hydrogen atom is walking down the street with a friend when he suddenly stops.

The friend says, "What’s wrong?"

The hydrogen atom replys, "I lost my electron!"

The friend says, "Are you sure?"

The hydrogen atom exclaims, "Yes, I’m positive.

What did the nuclear physicist have for lunch?

Fission chips

What is the definition of "electron?"

What the US did in 1980 and 1984.

Have you ever noticed? Anybody going slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac.

A Chronological Record of Events as they have Transpired in the City and County since our last Issue.

Location of Three Lights Changed.

The light committee, to whom had been previously referred several petitions asking for lights at different points in the city reported that they found it almost impossible to add more lights, as the circuits were loaded.

They had, however, found two lights on Oak street beyond any house, which they thought could be used elsewhere; also one other light could be changed in location a little.

The light committee therefore made a report recommending that two lights be taken from the extreme west end of Oak street and one of said lights be placed on Fall street and the other on Cedar street, about 400 feet west of Sophia. Also that the light at the intersection of Macon and River streets, be placed at the intersection of Orchard and Tenth streets.

  Today's Feature

Blunt Questions Low Vaccine Supply.

Washington, D.C. – Southwest Missouri Congressman Roy Blunt has voiced real concern for Missouri families and demanded answers from the Obama Administration about their response to the breakout of H1N1 in the United States.

"The onerous regulatory and legal environment in the United States has placed America’s most vulnerable in danger," Blunt said. "The federal government has clearly failed to meet a basic responsibility to move quickly to ensure the availability of H1N1 vaccines."

"Congress needs to be asking serious questions about why the vaccine isn’t yet widely available, even though we’ve known for six months that we needed to be fully prepared," Blunt said.

Recent reports suggest that the Administration’s response on H1N1 has fallen short, leaving many Missourians, including school districts, with no way to vaccinate the most vulnerable. Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services this week reported that it only has 28 percent of the H1N1 vaccine that it needs.


Grading the

Public Options

That Already Exist

by Sabrina Shankman, ProPublica

Pundits and politicians from both sides of the fence have been hollering themselves blue about a potential public health care option. Instead of relying on private insurers, the government would insure people itself. The idea is that if a government-run option were offered to compete with private insurers, it could help keep pricing in check and ensure quality.

Two of the three health care reform bills in Congress have a public option. What might a public option look like in practice? One way to find out is to look at what’s already out there. About a third of Americans already get health care from a publicly administered program. From celebrated programs like the VA’s or the military’s, to the troubled ones like the Indian Health Services, here’s a snapshot of how they actually work:


The good: TRICARE isn’t an insurance program—it’s considered a government benefit for active members of the military, retirees and their families. This means that if you qualify, you’re automatically covered, regardless of pre-existing conditions. And if you use TRICARE Prime, which operates like an HMO and is the most popular option, there are no out-of-pocket fees so long as you go to a Military Treatment Facility.

The bad: If you enroll in TRICARE Prime, which charges non-active-duty members $230 a year, there are just nominal out-of-pocket expenses to visit non-military providers. But if you only have the default coverage, TRICARE Standard, the fees can be steep. Inpatient costs for civilian facilities under the Standard plan, for instance, are $535 a day.

The ugly: Walter Reed.

Veterans Health Administration

The good: Like TRICARE, it’s a government benefit, so if you qualify, you’re in. In many cases, that means you’re exempt from co-pays and deductibles. If not, costs are comparable to Medicare’s. And unlike veterans of previous wars, if you served in Iraq or Afghanistan, the VA will cover you even if you were not injured, because it now recognizes that it can take a few years for symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder to show. What’s more, you can’t knock the product—the VA is known for its high standard of care.

The bad: If you don’t sign up within five years of discharge, you’re out of luck.

The ugly: Enrollment has boomed in recent years, because of an influx of vets from Iraq and Afghanistan. But the budget hasn’t kept pace. In the last 10 years, the VA’s medical spending per veteran increased 23 percent, from $4,374 to $5,390. But health care costs have inflated by 50 percent. Taking that into account, the VA is actually spending $1,184 less on each veteran now.

Indian Health Service

The good: If you’re a member of one of the country’s 564 American Indian and Alaska Native tribes—or a descendant—you are automatically enrolled (although no dice for tribes that aren’t federally recognized). To receive services, you have to live on or next to a reservation, and you can visit, for free, any of the IHS or tribal-run hospitals or clinics.

The bad: The coverage is better than nothing ... but just barely. Each year IHS receives about $600 million for Contract Health Services, which covers any services outside the IHS system. In places where IHS already has a hospital, this might pay for visits to a specialist. In locations that just have clinics, the funds have to cover more. But the problem is, the money runs out every year. So if you need to see your cardiologist, get a mammogram or get a colonoscopy, you’d better ask for it in January. Because by March, funds for these will start running low. By June, they will have run dry. (This was explained to us by Elmer Brewster of IHS, who also explained it to Slate.)

The ugly: Let’s look at the numbers —American Indians’ life expectancy is 2.4 years less than the overall average, and their infant mortality rate is 8.5 per 1,000 live births, as opposed to 6.8 for the entire country. They are six times as likely to die from tuberculosis, and nearly twice as likely to die from diabetes. Of course, there are multiple factors explaining why Native Americans have more health problems, but health care coverage is likely one of them: While the average health care expenditure in the U.S. is about $6,000 per person, IHS shells out just $2,100.

Healthcare Group of Arizona

The good: The state of Arizona started this program in the 1980s to offer more affordable health insurance to businesses with between two and 50 employees, allowing them to choose from three managed-care options.

The bad: The program operated in the red from 2004 to 2007 [16]. While it’s back in the black, that is in part because the plans with the lowest deductibles were eliminated. So, where there used to be zero and $500 deductibles, now most are close to $2,000.

The ugly: Even the administrator of the program admits that it might not be the most affordable option. For a small business with a young, healthy staff, you’ll do much better on the private market, the administrator, Monica Coury, told us.


The good: Taking Part D (the confusing prescription drug program that’s administered by private programs) out of the picture, people are basically happy with Medicare. The fees are pretty low, and you can go to any health provider that accepts Medicare—which means most providers. And studies show that Medicare’s administrative costs are low compared with those of privately run programs.

The bad: There’s a lot of evidence of wasteful care. The program spends about $10 billion annually in payments to suppliers of medical equipment, but an inspector general for the program estimated last year that as much as $2.8 billion of that was waste. Meanwhile, take a look at the discrepancies in how much patients cost the system. In 2006 in Des Moines, Iowa, Medicare doled out an average of $6,335 in reimbursements per enrollee. The same year in Miami, that average was $16,351.

The ugly: It’s really, really expensive. In 2008, Medicare funding accounted for more than 13 percent of the federal budget, coming in at a whopping $391 billion. (For the sake of comparison, 2 percent of the budget was spent on education). Because it’s an entitlement program, there’s no way to limit the number of people who qualify, so as baby boomers age into the system, expect to see that budget balloon even more.


The good: More than 50 million low-income people who might otherwise go without insurance have it because of this program. It’s state-administered, meaning eligibility can differ, but typically, if you’re low-income, have children, or are disabled, you qualify.

The bad: Because states decide eligibility, you may qualify in one state, but not in others. For instance, in New York [25], someone making less than $706 a month qualifies. In Georgia, the bar is set at $235. Of course, cost of living varies geographically too, but eligibility differences go beyond just income. In some states, if you don’t have children, or aren’t pregnant, you may not qualify at all. One reason for this is a Medicaid waiver program that started during the Bush administration, which allowed states to skirt federal guidelines in order to cut costs and, in theory, better serve the states’ Medicaid population.

The ugly: As the economy has tanked, more people have joined Medicaid, which has squeezed already tight budgets. Many states have used stimulus funds to supplement their budgets. But when the funds run out, it’s unclear what will happen to the program, which accounts for more than one-fifth of total state spending.

Just Jake Talkin'

I’ve sometimes been tempted to print every single news release that Roy (Congressman Blunt) sends out. It’s not that most are that newsworthy, it’s just the shear volume that becomes a story in itself.

I’m sure he has a staff member that comes up with most of the actual writtin’. I can’t imagine him takin’ the time almost daily to put together a well written release. Not that he couldn’t or sometimes does. I don’t really have a clue. I’m just speculatin’ here. It just seems he might have more important things to do with his time.

‘Course keepin’ in touch with the folks here in SW MO is a big part of the job. I’ve been told that his public teleconferences are pretty informative and interestin’.

At least it is good ta have a representative that tell ya what he thinks.

This is some fact, but mostly,

Just Jake Talkin’.

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ART NOTES from Hyde House

by Sally Armstrong, Director of artCentral

Great start for the new exhibition here at Hyde House Gallery! We welcomed this past Friday evening a number of guests to our gallery, many first-timers, to see the beautiful work of our three contributing artists in this show. I told you a bit last week about our featured artist, Dan McWilliams of Jasper, and tried to describe his beautiful style of painting. Dan’s oils were well received by all who have seen them so far. Today I want to talk about the work of our artist currently showing in the Member Gallery, Mary Lou Reed of Sarcoxie. Mary Lou is no stranger to artCentral, as she is a long time member and contributor. I first learned of her work in pastels, which is still her strong media I believe, but for this showing she has brought a group of extremely colorful acrylic paintings. Some of these represent scenes from her family farm in Birchtree, and are more representational, except for the pure use of joyful color that is unlike any usual depiction of a barn or field! This show is entitled THEN & NOW, and the "then" is for the farm paintings that were done with tube acrylic applied in a traditional brush manner on canvas. They are delightful. However, recently she has begun experimenting again, this time with fluid acrylics on Masonite panels and canvas. As she tells it, "the paint was poured, dripped, sponged, brushed, blown and manipulated in various ways." These new paintings, or the NOW portion of the show, are so colorful and happy. Mary Lou’s art career has spread across several states and decades, beginning in Oswego, Oregon at Marylhurst College in the early 50s, returning to art in 1974 after her children were born. It was then that she studied under Maude Kerns in Eugene, Oregon at the now Kerns Art Center. She is a retired art teacher. "Color has always been my main concern in painting, and I push it as far as possible!" Come out this weekend, Friday- Sunday noon to 5:00 and view her work as well as the work of Dan McWilliams and the seven horses of Rachel Wilson on the lawn. Next week we will talk about Rachel and her horses

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